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ESL Teacher and Their Role in a TEFL Classroom

ESL Teacher and Their Role in a TEFL Classroom | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Teaching can be a gratifying career, but with it comes great responsibility. Possessing a high grasp of grammar, teaching theories, techniques, etc., will hold you in good stead. However, there are many other wide-ranging characteristics required to be a great teacher.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Elicia B. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Flexibility and Adaptability

A great teacher needs to be adaptable as they are not just a teacher. They are a motivator, organizer, entertainer, prompter, corrector, and participator, to name only a few. It is essential that the teacher can identify when is appropriate to employ each of these roles to elicit the best out of their students. A typical class may involve some or all of the above and will play a significant role in the lesson's effectiveness.

A student who is attending class is reliant on you to help them learn a complicated language. While it is imperative to motivate and encourage, it is of equal importance to discipline, correct, and assess in a supportive and constructive manner.

Often classes may consist of students with varying levels of ability. This can be challenging for both the teacher and students. The teacher must maintain a level of control to ensure that each member of the class is given equal attention, that students do not get 'left behind, and that they feel comfortable actively contribute to classroom discussion. To do so, the teacher's first job must be to establish rapport with the students. Once a teacher has the respect of the student's it will be easier to inspire their confidence levels and provide further motivation to continue learning. Consideration and maintaining a high level of respect for the student's culture and interests will also hold you in high esteem.

Dealing with students with whom English is not their native language can be difficult, for varied reasons, the level of understanding, the reason for attending class, age of the student – as an example; young learners have a shorter attention span, and the teacher needs to make sure that classes are fun and engaging while still teaching the children the basic rules and principals.

Planning and Managing

Lesson planning should take into account your student's level of understanding of the subject being taught, be engaging, challenging and varied, and structured to follow the Straight Arrow, Boomerang, or Patchwork methodology by using different activities, handouts, or media in the form of movies, newspaper articles or songs. Games are encouraged in both groups or pairs. The teacher should not rely on the course handbook provided and read verbatim, particularly given many teaching resources that are widely available and should be substituted where possible to maintain the objective of the proposed lesson.

There are general essential rules the teacher should be aware of; using clear and concise speech, ensure the students understand what has been asked of them, the amount of time spent speaking and speed which you do so, and class seating arrangements, size, and legibility of writing on the whiteboard, down to the position of the teacher.

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Ultimately a teacher can wear many hats, and the role the teacher plays in the classroom can control the outcome of the student's prospects. A passion for teaching will always shine through. Being patient, maintaining a relaxed and controlled manner, simply smiling, and being open to each student's needs will be more likely to produce successful students and teachers alike.

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